Columbia Star

Richland County Council meeting disjointed after council members’ month’s vacation

Richland County Council’s meeting September 12 featured a council returning from vacation after a month, and it showed. Everything brought up seemed to be more difficult than normal. With council chambers being renovated and the meeting being held at the downtown branch of the Richland County Library, everything was a little disjointed.

An item pertaining to the transportation committee that was included as an action item during the special called meeting July 25 was asked to be reconsidered by Greg Pearce. New information had been provided after the initial action. The council retired to executive session to discuss this item and receive the new information.

A Blue Ribbon Ad Hoc Committee Report was deferred until next meeting after it was reported by committee chair Pearce the meeting had not been properly advertised. All items pertaining to this meeting will be on the next meeting agenda.

During public hearings, several citizens spoke to an ordinance to establish a special tax district to repair the Lake Dogwood dam. Joyce Perkins expressed concern about the confusion involved in the process. She seemed to infer the POA was determining what was being charged and who had to pay for repairs, but the process of setting up a tax district is determined by the state.

Several other residents spoke in favor of the district, citing the historical aspects of the lake and the unique circumstances of this district as opposed to more residential lakes using this process before.

The attorney walking the process through the county council told the council that each step, from having community meetings to advertising the election to asking the council to set up the district had been done according to process.

Several council members seemed concerned about residents’ claims of not getting to vote in the election and not having access to the lake.

Norman Jackson, who represents most of the residents involved, tried to divide the issue; separating the establishment of the district from the actual determination of how the costs are divided.

To add to the confusion, Richland County Auditor Paul Brawley informed the council his office was not capable of processing the tax invoices in a timely manner unless the flat fee option was used.

The council eventually passed the ordinance to establish the tax district, but more is involved in this case.

An ordinance authorizing the issuance of bonds for an upcoming secret project was also troublesome for the council. During executive session, the county’s bond attorney had strongly suggested the council not move on this three reading item until further information was obtained. But no one could definitely recall whether she meant defer the item or pass first reading by title only, and she was not at the meeting. A move to defer the item was defeated after much discussion by one vote 6-5.

After more discussion and a legal opinion, a vote was taken on the item itself. This was also defeated by one vote 6-5. According to the way I understand things, this means the item must be reintroduced in committee, and the whole process will begin again. Maybe the council members will get all the needed information this time and still meet any time limits.

Despite the slips and slides, the council did add Alexander English to the Township Auditorium Committee, appointed David Donnell Green and Dantrell Laquinn Jones as Code Enforcement Officers, and approved new sprinkler heads for the Glenn Detention Center.

Chair Joyce Dickerson, Vice Chair Bill Malinowski, Calvin “Chip” Jackson, Norman Jackson, Gwendolyn Kennedy, Paul Livingston, Jim Manning, Yvonne McBride, Dalhi Myers, Greg Pearce, and Seth Rose were present.

More detailed information can be found at the Richland County website:

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